Jamaica - Market Overview
Discusses key economic indicators and trade statistics, which countries are dominant in the market, the U.S. market share, the political situation if relevant, the top reasons why U.S. companies should consider exporting to this country, and other issues that affect trade, e.g., terrorism, currency devaluations, trade agreements.
Last Published: 7/3/2017
- Jamaica’s economy has grown less than 1% per year for four decades.
- In May 2013, the GOJ entered into a US$932 million 4-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce its debt-to-GDP ratio, one of the highest in the world. In November 2016, the GOJ transitioned into a US$1.7 billion 3-year IMF Stand-By Arrangement to signal its commitment to policy continuity.
- Jamaica restructured its domestic debt and undertook an ambitious legislative agenda to enact significant structural reforms. These included the elimination of sector-specific tax incentives and waivers, and improving the business climate. Through May 2017, Jamaica has successfully passed its IMF program reviews and was a top ten improver in World Bank’s Doing Business report in 2015 and 2016.
- The country’s macro-economic indicators have been improving since 2013: inflation moderated to a record low of 1.7% for 2016; the Net International Reserves jumped to US$2.7 billion at end 2016, up from US$989 million in March 2013; and, the current account deficit improved from 12.8% of GDP at March 2013 to around 2% at end 2016, the lowest result in almost two decades. On February 25, 2016, a new administration was voted into office on a one seat majority and has contunued with the macroeconomic and structural reforms outlined in Jamaica’s IMF reform.
- Bilateral relations between Jamaica and the United States are generally good.
- The United States remains Jamaica's main trading partner, accounting for almost 40% of the nation’s total trade. Jamaica's other major trading partners include China, Japan, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Jamaica is attractive to U.S. exports due to its: (1) geographic proximity and access to shipping lanes; (2) relatively large English-speaking market; (3) strong commercial and cultural affinity to North America; (4) improving business climate as reflected in the World Bank 2016 Doing Business Report; and, (5) stable democracy.
Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.
Trade Development and Promotion